- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Bike Riding for Fitness and Fun
Summer is here and bike riders are every where. Cycling is one of the best ways to have fun and get into shape. It is fabulous for shaping up your butt and legs too.
It doesn't matter if you are on a mountain bike, road bike, or cross trainer, they all add up to great fun and are one of the most perfect ways to burn fat and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
Mountain bikes have a much fatter tire and easier gears to help you when you are off road and climbing steep terrain. The handle bars of a mountain bike are straight across and sit a little higher for better comfort on your back. You can ride a mountain bike in rough territory and not have a problem staying upright like you would on a road bike.
Road bikes have skinny tires and gears that are made for the road. In recent years road bike gears have now included a third front chain ring just like the mountain bikes have to make hill climbing a little easier for the rider. This gear is commonly referred to as a "granny gear" in the cycling world.
Many people are intimidated by a road bikes skinny tires and bent over handle bars. I have been riding road bikes for most of my life, and I can tell you that they are not as scary as they might seem. They are built that way for optimum performance when riding.
A cross trainer bike is sort of a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. I always recommend this type of bike to anyone who wants to learn road biking, but has some fear around the skinny tires, and bent over position with the handle bars.
A cross trainer has mountain bike handle bars and three chain rings just like a mountain. Its tires are not fat or skinny, they are right in the middle of the two. It allows better speed on the road, yet gives you a little more security with a bit wider tire. It is a great place to start if you are thinking of getting into road bike riding.
If you are riding an average of 10 miles per hour on a bike, you will burn an average of 500 calories in a hour. Ten miles an hour is relatively easy. It is not a killer pace, unless you are a couch potato, then it might be challenging.
Picking up that pace to 12 or 15 miles an hour will obviously raise your caloric burn for that hour. Of course riding hills and mountains will raise that up even more. So you can see that you can burn a ton of calories riding a bike.
The best part about it is that it is so much fun. It makes me feel like a kid when I am on my bike. With the wind in my hair, riding through the country roads where I live, is just the best.
Hopefully you have access to a bike so you can get out there and have some fun while you get into shape. If you do not have a bike, there are bike rentals in most towns that you can rent for the day. Give it a try with some friends....you may just like it!